Senior psychology major, Madeline Brawley, doesn’t believe in the phrase “school isn’t for me.” The Midlothian, Virginia native said that she feels the current educational system does not always cater to students with less tradition experiences growing up and wants a career that will help these individuals realize their potential in elementary school, high school, and even college. “I want to advocate for students who have different experiences and help them get the best education possible in a system they may not feel a part of.”
Madeline’s desire to become a school psychologist influenced her honors thesis on well-being and perceptions of health and self in college students. “I think my research is valuable in finding out how universities can implement different ways to help students soar” she said. Whether college-aged, elementary, or somewhere in between, Madeline’s passion for helping students succeed is clear in the work she’s doing as a student at Mason. In addition to her studies within the honors college, Madeline is a Patriot Leader and works as a student success coach in Mason’s Early Identification Program. As a student success coach, Madeline’s job is to go to local high schools and meet one-on-one with students in the program to discuss school experiences, college goals, and career aspirations.
“I wanted to be a student success coach because it gives me access to high school students and a population of first generation college-bound students which is a population we are really passionate about as Patriot Leaders. It was cool to work with high schoolers that were going to be future Mason students.”
Madeline’s attitude towards education comes back to a philosophy she lives by each day: school (particularly college) is what you make it. Her academic, extra-curricular, and personal achievements all led to her becoming a 2018 Dean’s Challenge Award recipient.
“It means a lot to me, personally, because it shows how much I’ve grown since I started here,” she said. “If you told me my freshman year that I’d be receiving this award, I would have laughed. I met the other recipients, and found out about all the things they are passionate about and doing at this university. It’s been really exciting to know I’m a part of this group.”
As she begins her senior year, Madeline’s favorite part about being a Mason student remains the same as it was when she first stepped on campus. She believes that Mason is an excellent place for growth. “There’s no typical Mason student,” she said. “Everyone belongs at Mason. I’ve learned so much from people who are both like me and different than me. The culture of this university is great for growth, whether that be personally, academically, or professionally.”
Madeline plans to pursue a master’s degree with a goal to one day serve her community as a school psychologist.